40 Years of Volunteerism Celebrated & $1 Million Gift Announced

40th Anniversary Celebration Gala


(Baton Rouge, La.) Tonight, nearly 500 Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center volunteers, staff members, and special guests gathered at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center for the Center’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala honoring volunteerism.

Event sponsors included Presenting Sponsor Gerry Lane Enterprises, Volunteer Awards Sponsor Louisiana Lottery Corporation, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, Mockler Beverage-Budweiser, Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant, Digital FX, Baton Rouge Printing, TJM Restaurant Management and Diane Allen and Associates. Those in attendance enjoyed the music of Eric Baskin.

“So many wonderful volunteers made tonight’s celebration possible,” said Susan Lipsey, Honorary Chair of the Gala along with her husband, Richard. “We are here tonight to celebrate our volunteers, our donors and all of you who have made Mary Bird Perkins the best cancer care organization in this city, in this region and one of the very best in the country.”

“It was community volunteers who had the vision for what ultimately became Mary Bird Perkins,” said Richard Lipsey.  “Because of their dream and determination, and the many volunteers over the years who believed in what they wanted to create, we have been able to remain true to their vision to provide quality cancer care, close to home.”

Richard Lipsey’s mother, Anna, was one of the Center’s Founders along with 15 others, including Dr. M.J. “Jack” Rathbone.  Dr. Rathbone’s son, Dr. Richard Rathbone, attended the celebration and spoke of how pleased his father would be to know that Mary Bird has grown to five centers and that its reputation for excellence is now worldwide.

Three prestigious annual Volunteer Awards were presented to recognize Mary Bird Perkins volunteers who have made a positive impact in the fight against cancer.

•    The Hillar C. Moore, Jr. Outstanding Service Award was presented to G. Lee Griffin. “I am honored to receive this award. Mary Bird Perkins treats all people, whether they can afford it or not, and they provide free screenings. Their mission is to save lives and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

•    Gail and Bill O’Quin were presented with the Louis D. Curet Volunteer Fundraiser Award. “Gail and I are indeed honored to be presented with this award,” expressed Bill O’Quin. “Mary Bird Perkins is a tremendous organization that does so much good for our community. We’re just so happy to be a part of it.”

•    The Anna B. Lipsey Memorial Volunteer Service Award was presented to Judy and Bob Cancienne who are known for their kindness and generosity of spirit with cancer patients, even as they are both undergoing treatment themselves, “We are humbled by this award,” said Mr. Cancienne. Added his wife, Judy, “The gift of giving and receiving brings great joy. We’ve experienced that at Mary Bird Perkins.”

The President and CEO of Mary Bird Perkins, Todd Stevens, said to all in attendance that, “At its heart, Mary Bird Perkins is a volunteer-driven organization.” He explained that because of volunteers, the Founders’ passion for the fight against cancer has been carried forward, expanded and broadened. “We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and donors, and the many communities that support our mission.”

At the conclusion of the evening, a very special presentation was made, announcing a gift of $1 million from Mr. Thomas J. “T.J.” Moran to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Foundation. Introduced by his nephew, Dr. Tom Kiebach, DDS, Moran, a 22-year survivor of throat cancer and former Mary Bird Perkins patient, credits Dr. Robert Fields, radiation oncologist, and the expert staff with saving and extending his life.

Jerry Jolly, Chairman, Board of Directors, Mary Bird Perkins, presented Moran with a joint resolution from the Center’s Board of Directors and Foundation Board recognizing Moran as a champion in the fight against cancer, extending their deepest appreciation for his contribution to perpetuating the mission of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “Tomorrow, with Mr. Moran’s incredible gift as a catalyst, we take a giant step toward securing an innovative and dynamic future to help those battling cancer, said Jolly.”
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has been fighting cancer for over 40 years. It is a cancer care organization with five centers across southeast Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales. For more information visit www.marybird.org.